Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Georgia Public Schools & School Vouchers

We all know the republicans love School Vouchers to death, which will divert public money to the private sector, therefore putting Georgia Public Schools on a sure path towards a sure, but slow death.

Let's face it, the School Voucher issue is about politics. Nothing else!

12 years ago, Grover Norquist, one of the most influential Republican strategists said in a 1998 interview with Insight , the magazine of the conservative Washington Times, has long recognized the partisan value of vouchers, sometimes euphemistically referred to as "choice." "School choice reaches right into the heart of the Democratic coalition and takes people out of it.

The teacher unions back up their support for the Democratic Party with money and grassroots organization. After all, public schools exist in every municipality and county in the state. Unlike manufacturing, teaching cannot be outsourced to Mexico, China, or Bangladesh.

School vouchers are a way to diminish that power. "School choice allows children and money to leave the system, and that means there will be fewer public teacher jobs, lower union membership, and lower dues. It's long been obvious that vouchers are an attack on teacher unions. The main motivation of some of the choice supporters was to weaken public education unions. Another thing, eliminating public education may seem un-American. but a growing number of movement conservatives have signed a so-called proclamation from the Alliance for the Separation of School and State that favors ending government involvement in education.

While universal vouchers remain the goal, for tactical reasons conservatives have wrapped vouchers in the mantle of concern for poor African Americans and Latinos. Indeed,some voucher supporters are fond of calling school choice the new civil rights movement. This plays well not only with voters of color but also with liberal suburban whites who, while they may be leery of allowing significant numbers of minorities into their schools, nonetheless support the concept of equal rights for all.

Even if Republicans fail to woo African Americans and Latinos to the Republican Party, they may dampen African American and Latino voter turnout--a neutralization strategy, as it were. The Republican emphasis on vouchers runs the risk of alienating moderate Republicans who support public education. Such support is strong not only in rural areas where public schools are a vital part of the community and private schools are few, but also in suburban communities with strong, well-funded public schools.

But that won't stop conservatives , who view vouchers as a key ingredient in their effort to "downsize" government services. "The problem is that the federal government hands out billions of dollars, and people will lie, cheat, steal, or bribe to get it.

If you have a big cake, and you put it under the sink and then you wonder why the cockroaches are in your kitchen, I don't think any sprays or blocking the holes in the walls are going to get rid of the cockroaches. You've got to throw the cake in the trash so that the cockroaches don't have something to come for."

The people of Georgia do not view public schoolteachers and students as cockroaches. The overwhelming majority strongly support public schools. They don't want them dismantled; they just want them to work better.

But you can expect that with a increased majority in both Chambers & with Nathan Deal in control of the mansion, the thought of school vouchers maybe one step close to reality.

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